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California Energy Commission to vote on solar-required home building

California Energy Commission to vote on solar-required home building

The mandate still requires approval from the Building Standards Commission.

"This is groundbreaking", said Pierre Delforge, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The requirement is part of new energy-efficiency standards adopted on Wednesday by the California Energy Commission, according to Bloomberg.

About 117,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multifamily units will be built in 2020, the commission estimates. And the plan has drawn generally positive reviews from the construction industry.

"It absolutely will increase the cost of homes", says Lisa Vorderbrueggen, director of governmental affairs for the Bay Area Building Industry Association.

'You can bet every other of the 49 states will be watching closely to see what happens, ' he said.

About SEIA®: Celebrating its 44 anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the USA solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans. But Republican legislative leaders said Californians can't afford to pay any more for housing in the state's already extremely expensive market.

Lynn Jurich, co-founder of solar installation company Sunrun, told the New York Times that large market expansions like this make it "very cost effective to do".

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"The state's housing crisis is real", State Assemblyman Brian Dahle said.

On Wednesday, The California Energy Commission approved a ruling requiring new homes and low-rise apartment buildings to include solar panels. Less than 20% of homes built in the state now include the panels. They would still have to draw some of their electricity from the power grid.

In fact, the state itself generates so much solar and wind power that it must sometimes halt production at some facilities or give the electricity away to other states to avoid overloading the electric grid.

Builders will have the option of adding solar panels to individual homes, or building shared power systems for a group of homes.

The rule will take effect in January 2020.

Critics have been quick to note that the solar panel mandate will add between $8,000 (£5,900) and $12,000 to a home's cost. "But this is a precedent-setting policy, one that will bring enormous benefits and cost savings to consumers".

In 2007, the state set out to reach a zero net energy standard for all homes by 2020.

It is the first such mandate nationwide and the state's latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions.


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